Attending a trial is a nerve-racking experience, mainly if you’ve never gone before. Apart from worries as to what might be at risk or concerns over a new setting, many people are afraid of humiliating themselves by not understanding one’s task, what things mean, and so on.
The judicial process involves many individuals. Many people are clueless about conventional norms, terminology, and procedures. Although these details are not typically essential to the layman, understanding what they are might help keep one comfortable. So, it’s best to discuss the duties of these individuals who play a significant role within the courtroom workgroup and other participants during a trial.
Differentiating Outsiders from Professionals
Suppose you are appointed to serve on a jury position in an ongoing case. As you take your seat on the bench for the very first time, you scan the crowd to see who’s important. A few individuals seem to fully understand what they’re doing like they’ve been in proceedings most of the time. These are most likely the professionals fulfilling their duty in the case. On the other hand, some don’t get paid to be in the trial. These are either spectators or the main participants.
Participants in Case Proceedings
What exactly are the roles of the people in a trial? Below are some of the most critical players in every case proceeding.
The clerk is in charge of handling and keeping track of all the court’s submitted papers and evidence. Most of the time, they appear in an actual proceeding. Although, some have higher positions. In that case, a deputy clerk will be the one who attends regular proceedings.
In certain jurisdictions, the clerks are often in charge of delivering the oath of truthfulness to witnesses. Throughout the trial, they sit adjacent to the judge and would be on a bench that resembles a witness stand.
Experts who note everything said in a judicial process are known as court reporters or stenographers. They are not always present in every case, so you might not see them in a non-criminal trial. Because they are responsible for recording every spoken word in a proceeding, they often request to pause statements and testimonies. This way, they can urge the witness to repeat themselves or talk clearly and at a slower pace.
Some jurisdictions require these professionals to administer the vow of integrity as well. If a copy of the hearing transcript is needed, they can arrange for the document for translation, typically for a charge.
A bailiff is a police officer tasked with keeping order and safety during a trial. Deputy sheriffs are the ones responsible in many localities, and federal courthouses employ marshals. As the judge arrives and exits the courtroom, the bailiffs are the ones who proclaim all to rise.
Bailiffs often volunteer to take papers and exhibits from counsel desks to the bench to maintain a safe barrier between judges and people in the room. If a bailiff tells you to do anything, you should always obey them as they are also law enforcement officers. They are one of the highest positions inside the area, and the only person with greater power is the judge.
The judicial assistant is the secretary of the judge. They are the ones in charge of the judge’s schedule, answers phone calls, and arrange cases on the trial calendar. Although the judicial assistant doesn’t need to be a paralegal or a lawyer, they significantly impact the case’s development.
Staff Attorneys and Law Clerk
Some judges employ a legal clerk to assist them in carrying out their responsibilities. They are usually fresh law school graduates looking for experience in the courtroom and other judicial elements of the judge’s duties. As staff attorneys, they have the privilege to observe proceedings and trials but don’t play any part in the process
In the courtroom, eyewitnesses are also crucial persons. These are ordinary citizens who testify under oath on some facts at hand. They are part of the nonprofessional players of the trial, victims, defendants, and other parties interested in the case’s resolution.
There are far more terminology and practices to be acquainted with in any judicial proceeding. Nonetheless, the above information should help you remain at ease in this new atmosphere.
Having a lawyer to aid you with any constitutional matter that could support you in trials is essential. Still, if it’s a non-legal concern, most judicial employees are glad to answer it as long as you do not interrupt other hearings or somehow disrupt their responsibilities.